UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones has tested positive for banned substances again and likely will be stripped of his title.
UFC President Dana White told reporters Tuesday evening that Jones tested positive for an anabolic steroid after his July 29 victory over longtime rival Daniel Cormier. The Jones camp and the state regulatory body also confirmed the test.
“I don’t know what to say. I always know what to say. I don’t know what to say,” an exasperated Mr. White said at a news conference late Tuesday.
TMZ Sports first reported the positive test, saying the steroid in question was Turinabol. Jones troubled history also includes DUI and felony hit-and-run convictions.
Because it’s his second offense with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Jones faces a ban of up to four years, which would likely end his career, at least at the world-champion-caliber level.
At his news conference, Mr. White agreed, saying “this might be the end of his career.” He told reporters that the UFC had been working on pitting Jones against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for the bigger man’s title.
Jones knocked out Cormier in the third round of their fight last month in Anaheim, California, his second victory over the former Olympic wrestler who became champion while Jones was serving his first drug-related ban.
A failed post-fight drug test would mean that Jones would be retroactively disqualified and the title go to Cormier, the fight’s official winner.
“As far as I’m concerned, Cormier is the champion” if the test results stand up through the required due process, Mr. White said.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) confirmed to MMA Fighting the positive test Tuesday.
“The California State Athletic Commission has been made aware of Jon Jones’ test results and is looking into the matter,” CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told the popular combat-sports website. CSAC “will take any appropriate actions necessary after a thorough review of the situation. As with all fighters, Mr. Jones is entitled to due process.”
Jones manager Malki Kawa also confirmed the test result to MMA Fighting, though he claimed his fighter’s innocence and said the Jones team would re-test the samples.
“We are all at a complete loss for words right now. Jon, his trainers, his nutritionists and his entire camp have worked tirelessly and meticulously the past 12 months to avoid this exact situation. We are having the samples tested again to determine the validity or source of contamination,” Mr. Kawa said.
Jones is widely considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, losing only once in his career — a fight he already was dominating when he landed an elbow that was illegal by the margin of perhaps a couple of inches.
His earlier failed drug test, which happened last summer before the initially-planned date for the Cormier rematch, involved anti-estrogen agents clomiphene and letrozol.
Neither is an anabolic steroid, but each masks the effects of previous steroid use and are banned for that reason. Jones told the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that the tests resulted from the use of male enhancers.
In the buildup to last month’s fight, during which Cormier regularly taunted him as a cheater, Jones hotly denied any steroid use.
“Daniel is trying to paint me as a steroid user, that’s his biggest ammo,” he told ESPN then. “He can’t say anything about my actual talent or skills … Steroids is something I’ve never done … It’s one of the most insulting things you can do to a guy who’s accomplished the things I’ve accomplished.”
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